Fresh battle over controversial £1.9m car park

How the new car park at Norfolk County Council's County Hall headquarters could look. Pic: Icarus Co

The original plans for the car park were agreed in September. - Credit: Icarus Consulting Ltd

A fresh battle is being fought over a new £1.9m council car park which was controversially agreed last year.

Norfolk County Council's planning committee voted in September to grant itself permission for a new car park to serve its County Hall headquarters.

The plans for an extension to the Martineau Lane car park and to add a second deck to part of the current set-up were backed, despite objections.

Norfolk County Council at County Hall in Norwich

Norfolk County Council wants to change the details of the controversial car park. - Credit: Archant

And the council is facing renewed opposition after it lodged plans to change the scheme granted permission.

People living nearby have objected again and are still questioning how providing extra car parking spaces for council staff fits with the strategy to reduce carbon emissions.

They have also reiterated that the coronavirus pandemic has proved people can work from home, so question whether they will all need to return to County Hall in the future.

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Rob Webb, planning services team leader at Norwich City Council, said the authority was still opposed to the principle of the scheme.

Civic watchdog the Norwich Society has objected. Jon Boon, chairman of the society's planning appraisals committee, said: "This proposal flies in the face of efforts to reduce the amount of traffic coming into Norwich, through initiatives such as Park-and-Ride.

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"It is a clear case of placing parking for council employees, or their tenants, outside the rules which apply to other businesses and premises within the city."

Brenda Jones, Labour county councillor. Pic: Labour Party.

Brenda Jones, Labour county councillor for Lakenham, has objected. - Credit: Labour Party

Brenda Jones, Labour county councillor for Lakenham, has also objected.

A spokesman for Norfolk County Council said: "The original application set the outline design for the project and this application is a result of more detailed design work from the appointed contractor.

"While the overall plan is broadly the same it includes a reduction in the overall footprint of the deck system and a reorientation of the access ramp to redirect vehicle headlight spill back into the car park and therefore reduce the impact on the surrounding area.

"These more detailed plans will return to the planning committee for approval.”

The council said many staff need to use cars as part of their job, while staff who had been based at Carrow House will move to County Hall following the pandemic.

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